Monday, September 28, 2020

Comments by rasselas.redux

Showing 100 of 672 comments. Show all.

  • With respect, if you re-read the article you’ll discover multiple references to alternative organisations, small and large, that suppress and cover-up and casually brush away wrong-doing. My suggestion is in relation to those specific problems.

    In fact there is a hint in the article that a percentage of monies that flow to these alternative organisations should be used to tackle the problems of corruption.

    And the best way to do that, in terms of transparency and justice, is for the investigation to be carried out by a truly independent body.

    As sam plover points out, that independent body is also prone to corruption. That is why it must itself be independent, transparent, and reformed from top to bottom, every few years, lest it stagnates.

    I have no idea how to regulate and make indivividuals responsible other than through recourse to existing Laws that offer some protection to the vulnerable.

  • Will Hall wrote: “Our movement needs to address its corruption problem.

    So, what should we do?”

    Regulation, regulation, regulation. Some kind of professional body that oversees those working in the alternative roles in mental health. People and organisations sign up to it. It strives to act as an assurance of quality and decent standards. And to become recogniseable and trusted as such.

    Whisteblowers welcome. Investigations fair and proportionate. Penalties available for the worst and repeat offenders.

    Unregulated professions are invariably the most corrupt.

  • Given the toxic environment and the toxic food-chain it is probably not wise to discount the harm being inflicted on children, including their brains.

    Otherwise, this is deeply disturbing and reminds me that things could be much worse in the UK:

    Girl, 6, ‘locked up’ in mental health facility for ‘throwing temper tantrum at school’

  • ADHD in children is basically a social means to an end. You get the diagnosis, the doors swing open to obtaining the drugs.

    Intuitively most people are horrified at the thought of giving potent stimulant drugs to children. They consider the ADHD to simply be a way of pathologising and using drugs to mask a psychological and social problem.

    Personally I think there is way more to it. There are lots of controversial drugs in the USA food chain, and lots of places with extreme problems of environmental pollution, that are long established as having the potential to cause congenital problems, brain damage and behavioural and developmental issues in children.

    These problems cannot be address through therapy. One cannot receive psychotherapy for being poisoned, by lead or other heavy metals. One cannot receive therapy for the problems stemming from ingesting hormones, and pesticides and so on, that penetrate the blood-brain barrier, and wreak havoc.

    So, unless the bigger picture is addressed, everyone is going to be chasing their own tail, some going clockwise, some going anticlockwise, and barking at one another to change direction.

  • It was pointed out to me that if no-one had a child for 50 years there would be no-one viable left to have a child, and so the last checkout would begin. Fair point.

    The need to bring new people into the world may increase during times of existential dread. It’s probably biological and thus to be expected. These days Africa is well-fed yet undernourished in many countries. So the kids have stunted growth and impaired intellectual development. Meanwhile millions of tonnes of nutritious African food-stuffs are exported, and billions of dollars of African wealth shared out amongst the major banks and investment companies, who use the cash to fund lavish lifestyles, cocaine habits, and to fund some half-hearted ethical start-ups that appear and fade faster than the average persons’ western conscience gets troubled by global corruption.

    The Eugenicists are back making dark claims about genetic determinism. It’s the same-old same-old self-serving shite that blames the poor for poverty and all the trappings that come with it.

    I despise and adore this planet and this existence and all people on it in equal measure. There is a man that walks around London pontificating with his megaphone and in recent weeks he’s joined the call advocating for human extinction. He encourages passersby to contemplate suing their parents for emotional damages for bringing them into this world, without choice or consiseration, reuslting in all their misery, woes, struggles, heart-ache, and the final kick in the teeth: having to come to terms with death.

    It’s not like people haven’t spread these messages before. Obviously with the apocalypse getting ever nearer, the siren calls grow ever louder.

    We are probably in a simulation inside a simulation inside a simulation, ad infinitum. If so, where are the cheat codes? How do I hack this nightmare into something less horrific without recourse to drugs and/or alcohol?

    I have no idea whatsoever, sam plover, continually.

  • 6% is very low, if it’s a figure from a population of people taking stimulant ADHD drugs. That’s 6 in 100.

    “Population-based surveys show that the prevalence of psychotic symptoms may be far greater than had been previously considered, with a meta-analysis suggesting a prevalence rate of 5%–8% in the general population (which is nearly 10 times higher than the prevalence of diagnosed psychotic disorders). Prevalence rates of such symptoms may be even higher among young people. In 2000, Poulton and colleagues reported that 14% of 11-year-old children endorsed psychotic symptoms upon interview and showed that these symptoms were associated with a 5-fold to 16-fold increased rate of psychotic illness in early adulthood (depending on the strength of the initial symptoms). Since then, large, population-based studies surveying psychotic symptoms among adolescents have found rates of 9%–14% in interview-based studies and rates greater than 25% in some studies using self-report questionnaires. Positive answers on self-report questionnaires have been validated on clinical interview. This emerging body of research suggests that a sizable minority of young people experience psychotic symptoms.”

    So 6% is a lower incidence of psychosis than many other studies were finding in general and youngster populations.

    If that 6% statistic has any basis in reality, then it might even suggest that stimulant drugs in childhood to some degree *protect against* psychosis, utterly contradicting my and others’ idle musings.

    At the very least 6% suggests only that the rates of psychosis are consistent with what is commonly found, even in the absence of stimulant drugs prescribed to children.

    Psychotic Disorders in Children and Adolescents: A Primer on Contemporary Evaluation and Management


    There is far more psychosis being experienced than people diagnosed with psychotic illnesses because more people find ways of coping, hiding, enduring or capitalising on their psychoses than those who succumb to their experiences and end up in psychiatric care, or prison, or Death.

    The Hearing Voices Network has exposed how so many people of seemingly ordinary lives are sometimes experiencing extraordinary things and that it is not necessary to panic over each and every one of them.

    The moral dilemma is then should humanity seek to erase all psychotic experiences from the lives of children and adults?

    Are psychotic experiences somehow a necessary aspect of human experience?

    Is psychosis a dirty stain on humanity that must be cleansed?

  • @Geronimo

    Not just spouts. Cabbage, broccoli and turnips too. Just don’t boil them. To do so is to torture and kill all the goodies they offer. Steaming is best.

    Lifestyle choices are obviously going to be good for the body, the brain, general wellbeing. A lot of these excellent choices then get knocked out by polluted air and alcohol, but best try and run on a full tank in a polluted, dirty world, I reckon.

    I wonder what effects all the plastic particulates are having on our bodies and brains? The brassicas will be full of them.

    Thanks for the link. She talks too fast for me. But Youtube allows you to slow down or speed people up in the settings.

  • sam plover wrote “What collective absolute for distinguishing illness from non illness?>
    What do we call it when a collective noun causes abuses, control, lack of medical care, no rights left.
    We have as to date no studies done on shrinks that when removed from their jobs as shrinks, say over a ten year study of all shrinks (with no money in their accounts)
    How they function. What jobs they choose.

    Let us all be okay with psychiatry and the abuse, lies.
    But alongside of “schizophrenia”, let us list the lack of medical care that non criminals get, the clout and validity in court that non criminals receive.
    Let us be truthful that it is now a UN issue. To have an illness that presents “problems in thinking”, the onus to prove that it presents an inability to think logically or act logically in every single area, that onus is on who? How do we prove that?
    And so, if it is down to the word of a shrink, it is very obviously not proof.
    I see Britney Spears has few rights, or no rights, but she does not have schizophrenia.
    I also wonder why every man and his dog uses these words of illnesses to prove MI exists? It is the public bait word. “Anxiety” seems so average.”

    I believe that the study of language is worthwhile. And that such a study would settle a lot of these questions that you’re asking.

    Reading you I *feel* as best I can your anger about these issues concerning words and language and how words can oppress and abuse and hurt and trap.

    In terms of proving sanity or madness that’s only ever going to be a social and cultural set of problems, arbitrary decisions, and paradoxes.

    One way out of that is to accept that we are all of us broken, individually and collectively. And that humans are fundamentally self-deceived and self-deluded. Almost all that we hold as true and constant and reliable is anything but… however, we hold fast to our many delusions and deceptions, and if we didn’t, it’d be the worst nightmare you could ever imagine.

    I;ll close by confessing that I have no emotional or intellectual interest in Britney Spears. Every time her name is mentioned an infamous paparazzi image of her comes to mind and it wouldn’t be right to go about describing it but that ultimately is what she is to me. Although of course she is a human being, and I hope she has people in her life that love her and protect her and remind her to check herself before climbing out of the back seat of a limo.

  • Bradford wrote: “Sitting in a tub of bleach and scrubbing your skin off is an inherently illogical and irrational act. It can’t be understood logically and rationally. It can only be understood illogically and irrationally….”

    Now that there is some distance between myself and the previous self that performed that act, I can tell you with utmost sincerity that my insight at the time was perfectly logical and rational and very many people who’d followed a similar course that led up to that point would have done much the same, or worse. I’ve only ever encountered one similar narrative and that person chose to douse themselves in a flammable liquid, set themselves alight, and then quickly attempt to extinguish the flames. The insight they were working under was also, contextually, logical and rational.

    What was lacking was insight into impaired insight,

    It can often require a third party to perform that function. To assess whether someone has logically and rationally arrived at mentally healthy insight, or has in fact, an impaired mind, or as some perfer to call it, a mental illness.

    At the same time as such things were going on in my life I was submitting literary analyses that were praised.

    So it’s not like I had taken leave of all my faculties of reason or comprehension.

  • Nonstandard_Nolan wrote: “Lack of insight? I could almost laugh at the notion. How many human beings, mentally ill or otherwise, have that kind of insight? Very very few. To label a person schizophrenic because of that would seem beyond foolish to me.”

    I could give many personal examples. It’s not something I’m i the habit of doing so just this once I’ll choose one and then we’re done with it.

    I had become convinced that my body had been infiltrated by undetectable supernatural parasites. Or they may have been alien life-forms. I was undecided. Time went by and I ran a bath and half filled it with bleach and topped that up with hot water and I sat in it and I scrubbed off much of the outer layer of my skin.

    That, to me, was a lack of insight. Which really means that the intense insight I had, and the actions spurred on by those erroneous inisghts, were clearly a lack of insight into the fact my insight had become severely impaired.

  • Robert Whitaker wrote: “As is well known, antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs change the brain. They perturb neurotransmitter systems, and in response, the brain goes through a series of compensatory adaptations in an effort to maintain a “homeostatic equilibrium.” At the end of this process, former NIMH director Stephen Hyman wrote in a 1996 paper, the brain is operating in a manner that is “qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the normal state.”

    For instance, antipsychotics block D2 receptors. In response, the brain increases the density of its D2 receptors. Thus, anyone who is exposed to an antipsychotic for any length of time will have this unusually high density of D2 receptors, and this is just one of the many changes that will be induced by years of exposure to antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs.

    As a result of this drug exposure, lumateperone was not being tested in “people with schizophrenia,” as though their brains were now in their original “disease” state. The drug was being tested in people whose brains had been dramatically remodeled by their years of exposure to antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs, and if the patients in this study shared any common physiology, it was the abnormalities—such as an increase in D2 receptors—induced by exposure to the drugs.

    Everyone knows this. Yet this scientific elephant in the room is never discussed. Instead, the pretense is that a drug-washout design removes the effect of this prior drug use, and returns the study participants to a pristine “schizophrenia” physiology. This allows for claims that a drug has been tested for a “disease,” even though it is in fact being tested in a population of patients whose brains are “abnormal” because of their years of exposure to the drugs.”

    That’s the bit when a lot of minds spontaneously shut-down. I struggled for a long time trying to understand why that happens, so persistently, so predictably, especially in otherwise very intelligent, lucid and principled people. I knew it had to be something vaguely about self-deception. Herbert Fingarette’s meditations are helping, gradually.

    Thanks for this. It exposes the game in all its corrupt splendour.

  • Broken minds, broken hearts
    broken faces, broken art
    broken trust, broken dreams
    broken roads, broken streams
    broken rivers, broken trees
    broken kingdoms of birds and fish and bees
    broken chains, broken and lost and freed

    broken hopes, broken faiths
    broken leaders, broken graith
    broken families, broken homes
    broken children, broken moms
    broken fathers, broken roles
    broken windows, broken souls
    broken chains, broken and lost and freed

    broken connections, broken spines
    broken commitments, broken times
    broken sex, broken love
    broken feelings, broken wings of the dove
    broken Laws, broken Wars
    brokenness the theme connecting it all
    broken chains, broken and lost and freed

    you are broken, and I am too
    we are broken and theres nothing we can do
    we deny, we decry, we avoid and castigate
    we hide away from the brokenness thats innate

    broken concepts, broken mirrors
    broken heroes, broken fiends
    universal brokenness is the connecting theme
    broken days, broken nights
    broken kindness, broken spite
    broken zeal, broken gruel
    broken chains that relinquish the fool

    broken dreamers, broken visions
    broken thinkers, think broken thoughts
    broken revolutionaries wanna break whats broke
    broken conservative wanna keep whats broke
    but broken people, through and though,
    what can they gain but to break it all anew

    my broken heart, your broken ego
    my broken life, your broken boasts
    my broken smallness, your broken illusions of grandeur
    my broken happiness and your broken self-assured

    nothing left, but broken smiles
    no where to go under broken skies
    broken air breathed in broken lungs
    broken food chain, broken gums
    all is broken, it’s there to see
    any claim to being unbroken is broken’s epitome!

  • Al Galves wrote: “To equate what goes on in the mind or soul (I see them as synonyms) with “neurological events” is a huge mistake […] we have no idea […] about the relationship between the brain and the mind.”

    It’s interesting that you consider the terms mind and soul as synonyms. Some do, many don’t. My approach is that if you are referring to something non-supernatural you’d do well to dispense with the supernatural language. Puts a lot of confusion to bed.

    Besides, you’re overstating the progress of knowledge, or lack of it. We know that there is a generative relationship between the brain and what we come to experience as a mind. Many of the seeming functions of the mind are known to be localised in the brain. When there are damages to the brain those localised functions will diminish or disappear. I agree that we’re not yet at the point where we can confidently, accurately treat the brain to heal the mind. Besides, many of the ailments of a mind are social experiences.

    Club hammers have long been favoured by humans seeking something curative to bang against their skulls and these tried and tested methods of overcomingness continue to prove overall popular and seemingly usefulizing. Alcohol has long been the number one club hammer in the toolkit, and pharmacologists, in their zeal for new club hammers, have gifted and cursed the human race with many more.

    Are club hammers better than talking to someone trusted and full of wonderful lifestyle thought-space thinky-dinky ideas?

    Sometimes yes, club hammers are best. Without a doubt.

    “To think that studying the brain or neurology will help people live their lives in satisfying ways is to labor under the yolk of scientism – an exaggerated faith in the efficacy of the methods of natural science to understand social and psychological phenomena, solve pressing human problems and provide a comprehensive, unified understanding of the meaning of the cosmos.”

    At no point have I implied that neurology is able to solve peoples’ day-to-day problems.

    Psychotherpy was at its most honest in its earliest days. Then it was unabashed about using hypnotism and suggestive persuasion techniques to bring about supposed “change” in its clients. Most clients would be struck by short-termist intangibility, and, in their subtle foggy confusion, and subtle buzzy aliveness, would keep going back for more. Every profession desires a clientelle that attains the imperceptible, indescribable need for more.

    Hypnotism by the by is a very short-term outcome. Uncanny that hypnotism, very often, even when institituted by an experienced hypnotist, very often ends in the hypnotist also succumbing to hypnotism, and that they too need the client to top-up their hypnotic states. Mutuality or, in extremis, shared psychosis.

    There appears to be no substantive evidence that psychotherapy is transforming the world. This, despite the world never having been counselled as much as it is now. There is more psychotherapy dished out now than at any other point in human history. And what a sorry state of being the world of humanity is in. What a sorry state indeed.

    Now do I discount personal testimony? I am terrified by personal testimony about anything. The intensity of cognitive biases contained in such witness statements can seriously threaten my equanimity, if I haven’t taken all necessary precautions prior to the encounter.

    I wish you a variably emotioned New Year, and fingers crossed you are still alive by the end of it.

  • I wrote: “Everyone is broken and without soul.”

    Alex wrote: “To me that implies suffering, that’s the feeling I get from reading this statement. So do you think we’re doomed? Or is there anything at all that can bring hope for making this world a better place in which to live, so that people don’t go around feeling “broken,” but instead, inspired and motivated to create a more appealing, safe, and supportive social and world environment?”

    Human brokenness isn’t a feeling. It’s an individual and collective state of being. Not sure how anyone sincere about making the world a better place can do so without coming to terms with individual and collective human brokenness. Maybe that’s not entirely honest of me. I probably do know how people go forwards with such conceits with seemingly little awareness of how they are adding to the problem.

    Without coming clean about individual and collective human brokenness, the very inspirations you evoke to “create a more appealing, safe, and supportive social and world environment” cannot and will not be attained. Denying universal human brokenness is to leave much of the problem hidden and obscured, adumbrated.

    It’s no use starting out on any project of global enhancement heavily laden with denial and self-delusion. The world is a big place, comprised of small places, and there are local quirks that conflict and contradict. In some places actions to a better world would be felt locally as oppressive and denying, and in other places those self-same actions towards a better world would be intuited as helpful, locally.

    You asked, “Do you think we’re doomed?” and that *feels* like a loaded question, playing on the idea that you are the holder of positivity and I am the holder of negativity, when in fact such energies ebb and flow in everyone.

    Do I think we are doomed? You and I are doomed. I suspect you know that we each will die and that that will be the end of it and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Is the human race doomed? My answer to that is contained in my comments about human brokenness.

    I wish you a variably emotioned New Year, and fingers crossed you are still alive by the end of it. At the end of each year I appreciate how I’ve yet again managed to overstay my welcome on this sorry, despicable, beautiful planet, and I somehow sneak through into another year under the cover of darkness and the rubbernecking of fireworks, which shower down toxic chemicals on those gawping, broken people beneath them.

  • Almost every human being reincarnates as a pig, a sheep, a cow or a chicken. This has long been known by people that have written similar sentences in other languages.

    Thankfully most are reborn into intense modern meat farming factories and they aren’t so very long in the torment, despite the despicable end.

    Happy Christmas.

  • Not drawn to the woo, despite unending woo-ness, dreamy disparate non-cohering. Yes, there’s considerable literature, self-proclaimers and entertainers purporting to elucidate the absurdo-wooniverse. Deepens the absurdity.

    All accusations of pseudoscience aimed at modern psychiatry can equally be aimed at New Age dreamy dogma and I see no merit in swapping out pseudoscience for pseudo-woo-ness.

    People do have the basic right to decide which false claims are made about their experiences. If they haven’t broken any law. No-one must impose their woo upon the woo-able. May the people of the woo be free to wish-think their woo as they choose. And may the people of the non-woo remain wholly unwooed.

    To ensure against succumbing to the debasing wonderment of tormenting wooness AKA psychosis, I re-read and read again about cognitive biases and delusions of reference and traumatic brain injuries in children and its deleterious impact on cognitive development and kite-high functioning. Such reminders hold the doctors and the injectors and the cops and the magistrates and the petty beaurocrats and the woo-wand wielding wizards at bay. Yet the hex persists. The woo goes on. It’s an old song.

    Happy Christmas.

  • Al Galves wrote: “By the way, I recommend Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore.”

    An interesting book but I do think he overly recommends the use of WD40.

    Greek etymologies are problematic.

    All ancient Greek concepts, of things like healing, and soul and suchlike, are a world apart from what we think they mean. It takes a tremendous effort and self-sacrifice to even begin to try and understand these ancient concepts. And no matter, the best you could hope for is a respected scholarly opinion, and by no means finality.

    In its earliest times psychotherapy was unashamedly the practice of change through hypnotism. All hypnotism is self-hypnotism so those astute at deceiving themselves could boast longlasting results. Most couldn’t, and would require regular assisted top-ups. And so the birth of a new profession.

    There is no such thing as a soul. Taking care of the soul is thus a dreadfully mistaken pursuit or claim to make about one’s uses of hypnotic techniques including the power of suggestion and persuasion. Via the very real brain-based human super-power humbly known as the imagination.

    Psychotherapy as a hypnotic-suggestive engagement with the brain’s power of imagination is so much more realistic and honest and not a need for a soul within sniffing distance. Not that anyone up to this point in mostly cringeworthy human history has so much as snatched the merest whiff of a soul…

    There is nothing fundamentally different between the concept of a soul in sickness and a brain made ill through chemical imbalance. Both are deceptively simplyfying narratives for unimaginably more complex neurological events. Of which we know so little it is dreadful to mention it. So what we do is, we pump it full of air, and give it fancy names and if we hold on tight enough and generate enough wind we can up-up-and-away with the best of them.

    The great thing about souls is that they do not exist, no-one has one, no-one has ever gained one, or lost one, and no-one has ever observed one, and no-one has ever made any meaningful sensible description of what a soul even is. This makes it a very useful term for people of a particular delusion to court the attention and trust of others, that quite enjoy the idea of having a soul, but fall to pieces as soon as they are asked to give some indication of what it is they are so stricken by.

    “It’s, like… a blinding white light that kinda clenches in my heart and-” “Please stop. That’s more than enough.”

    Of course (well, of course!) in the real world I’d get a smack in the face, or worse, for saying this by someone who believed they had a soul, or even someone standing up for the right of others to have something imaginary that other people must not question. Soul, for some, is no more than a synonym for rock-and-roll, or the effect rock music has on them when they look at themselves in dimly lit mirrors, or for being flooded with natural highs, such as dopamine, adrenalin, and opioids.

    Soul for many people simply means, not dead yet.

    I write all this to indicate that a beautiful, interesting thing about psychotherapy is that it is in deep need of psychotherapy. I suppose once psychotherapy has successfully completed its healing journey, it might then be ready to take on the befuddled generations. Or perhaps it would simply vanish. And be replaced by things like The Wise OK Boomer in the Village… The Classic unread Novel serialised by Netflix… carefully selected and edited Proverbs quotes inside Greetings Cards… and friendship unsullied in any way shape or form by technology.

    That last one made me laugh.

    Happy Christmas.

  • Bradford wrote: “It was 10 years earlier. The FIRST people the Nazis put in the camps were the disabled, and so-called “mentally ill”. That started in 1933…”

    I question the veracity of this comment.

    It is true that the killing of mental patients in mostly mental institutions pre-dated the killing of others by Nazis, but it’s important to remember that this killing had gotten underway before even the formulation of the Nazi Party.

    The concentration camps began popping up in 1933. The first 3 were Dachau, Oranienburg and Lichtenberg. All three were populated first with political prisoners.


  • Every time I get an intolerable headache I reach for paracetamol. That’s a psychoactive drug. And in most contexts it’s a medicine.

    Any psychoactive drug which is taken for medicinal purposes is a medicine.

    I think it must be the intent that matters. So any drug taken with the aim to be medicinal, is a medicine.

    There are of course official and nonofficial medicines. But that is another matter.

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “It sounds like you are defining “mental illness” as any condition that results in people behaving in dangerous or destructive ways. Do you really see these behaviors as “illnesses” in the medical sense?”

    When I use the term mental illness I do so in the awareness that it is a metaphor. That metaphor in general use encompasses all the unknown diseases, syndromes, damages and congenital malformations to and of the human brain.

    Unlike others I don’t have an ongoing neurosis about the term mental illness. I see it as a metaphorical holding pen for all that is currently unknown or tentatively understood about the human brain going wrong in some way or other.

    I think the sensible — although very frightening and unnerving and difficult — probability is that something is physiologically wrong (or to coin the technical term, cock-a-hoop) with someone that goes on a spree killing, yes. There are numerous known physiological causes that can give rise to such wanton violence. We don’t know them all. We may never know them all. And it’s not a routine matter to dissect and closely examine the brains of these murderous lunatics. It should be a routine matter, but it isn’t. On here that physiological cause is often attributed to antidepressants. That’s overstated, but nonetheless a perhaps plausible very minor addition to the very long list of already known possible physiological factors.

    Everything we do think feel say decide and so on has a physiological factor.

    I do not much like the majority of human beings, if I get to know them. So the trick is to not get to know them, in order that I can go on liking them, and interacting with them. Deep down, most people operate under that mischief. It takes a narcissism of tremendous achievement to get to the point of holding a gun and deciding on a slaughter of the innocents. To seek out that kind of narcissistic resolution to one’s natural and largely repressed misanthropy takes a tremendously cock-a-hooped brain and central nervous system and gastrointestinal system. To witness such an event is to witness a human machine gone awry. It’s a breakdown event. A malfunction event.

    To see it any other way, to me, lacks a sense of proportion or basic humanity. People behave like this because something has gone seriously wrong with their bodies, and thus their being. They are, again to coin the technical term, tapped in the head. In that “tapped” process they will often seek out justifying grand narratives, something big and extreme and loathsome and dangerous. Yet often, too, they won’t, and be self-justified by nothing more than I-don’t-like-Mondays.

    Brains go wrong. The brain is the most complex known organ. It goes wrong in so many ways and in doing so can give rise to breathtaking horrors.

    A sphincter is a much less complex bodily mechanism. It also goes wrong, and it also can give rise to breathtaking horrors.

    Why do people here so easily accept that the sphincter goes wrong but struggle so much with the notion of a malfunctioning brain?

  • Most mass shooters either kill themselves or get killed at the end of their insanely narcissitic horror operas. When they don’t, we find a mentally ill person. Or, more often, someone we would perhaps deem to be personality disordered.

    It is not considered fair game to denote someone as mentally ill or personality disordered because of their political ideologies. That to me is a categorical failing.

    The problem then for people like Trump, is that they would fall foul of my liberalising of the DSM. In fact, there are very few politicians that wouldn’t. And then almost everyone would fall foul of my liberalising at some point in their lives. At many points in their lives.

    On the one hand we say that there is no such thing as mental illness. People have problems and they need help getting over them.

    And then on the other hand we turn a blind eye to religious and political extremists. We insist that holding certain political and religious views are protected, and effectively healthy and okay.

    The world is a gulag populated by the mostly insane.

    Perhaps there is some truth in the fact that the aliens have a vested interest in keeping humans on this prison planet. We’d cause mayhem elsewhere.

  • I think all mass shootings are connected to mental illness. All mass murder. In fact all hate and killing arises from mental illness.

    It’s just that polite society is not willing to denote hate as illness. Whereas personally I believe hate to be a very intensely ill state of mind.

    I also believe that all extremist thinking is a form of mental illness. Including fascistic thinking. Or its preferred new term, alt right. The alt right movement is replete with mentally ill thinking.

    I also consider neoliberalism as mentally ill.

    For me, the DSM is just as problematic for what it discludes, as what it includes.

  • “[Rufus May] Advises distressed “schizophrenics” to go out for a walk!”

    And those stressed out by constant walking and roaming are advised to go indoors.

    So really, we should all be mindful about when we go outdoors and when we remain indoors. And we should, as much as possible, allow life to flow through us, and our thoughts also to flow through us. Because there are only thoughts and impressions. And they flow through us. Or seem to. Given that our being is a sophisticated illusion.

    These days most people go out through staying indoors, and experiencing outdoors through screens, in which they explore new worlds. When outdoors they lose themselves in portable screens that enable them to maintain indoors attachments.

    Strictly speaking indoors and outdoors are eaxctly the same thing. Much like up and down. And dead and alive. Nothing whatsoever is fundamentally altered, other than perception.

    The best discoevered place to get away form it all is likely the moon. It would be interesting to float off the planet one day and venture off aimlessly in a random direction.

    Having a mind is burdensome, tiresome. This is why we invented the written word. It’s superior to actual consciousness, which, by the by, is a complete mess.

  • I don’t understand the logical flow of this thesis. No, I understand it. I simply don’t see how its premises follow from one another.

    In a nutshell, humans evolved mechanisms to cope with stressful life-threatening situations, to increase the odds of surviving them.
    The costs of surviving these life-threatening situations was early death and more disease. And not just for them, but for generations
    of ancestors that followed.

    Thus, trauma built up in successive generations, bringing huge burdens of disease and life-shortening physical and mental problems.

    Which is a retelling of the Original Sin narrative. Only now it’s the Original Trauma.

    This thesis is suggesting that it is detrimental to many iterations/generations of the human genome to survive a life-threatening trauma. In fact it is tantamount to an act of malice to survive life-threatening trauma. Because human bodies have evolved to survive trauma and then punish it.

    Just as some others consider humans to be created to sin and then get punished for sinning.

    Only a therapist can atone you of your ancestors’ sins of surviving attacks by sabre-tooth tigers and non homo hominids. They do this via renewed (newly made-up) shamanic techniques that helped our ancestors see the value of not aspiring to a long-life and greeting Death with open, non-traumatised arms. To save many future generations from lifelong suffering.

    Only those that can afford weekly sessions of open bullshitting with a credentialed psychotherapist can atone for their ancestors sins. On average this takes about $50,000 per person, per sabre-tooth tiger attack.

  • I’m not in the least surprised that you can share this example of you helping someone to recover their life and being a major source of help, support and encouragement. As you have hinted previously, you’re the kind of person that struggles with turning your back on people and isn’t averse to getting your hands dirty. You would self-sacrifice without need for trumpet-blowing, social boasting, vested interest, monetary compensation, and so on. You do it because you are at heart a kind person that finds personal meaning in helping others.

    However, you weren’t all in with the guy as an antipsychiatrist. And you assume from personal bias that he’s always going to be better off abstaining from antipsychotics, when in fact, for some people, the enforced goal of abstention is an unnecessary cruelty that rides roughshod over their needs in order to make a fantasy triumphal gallop into the sunset of ideology.

    What I have come to understand is that for people suffering severe and enduring difficulties, formalised systems of care and support best work in alliances with those in close, caring and supportive relationships with the sufferers. What I think we’re lacking in the West is the encouragement and support and promotion of befriending/adoption kinds of relationships, in which people who have no-one in their life willing or able to stand in and take on responsibility for them, are not denied, cast out, failed, but helped by those that profess to know better, that demand more humanity, that scream loudly about how they were once hard done by, and that these people, once they have attained a state of forgiveness, can work in alliance with professionals, so that others can acheive what they feel was once denied to them.

    I believe lots of people are standing idle on this, and have got themselves trapped in echo chambers in which they are all waiting for someone else to make a move. When really all it takes is one person of conviction to be open to one other person that is suffering. In other words, just one person at a time. It’s not like there aren’t enough people available to do this. There is in fact a massive surplus, and large numbers of antipsychiatrists (and others with less redical views) with spare rooms, sofas, and sufficient resources to get by, maybe scrape by, but surely the focus is on human needs and human kindness?

  • I agree it can be done and it is done, the world over. Only we don’t get to hear much from these people doing it.

    Also, to clarify, I don’t personally think it is possible or even sensible to propose or attempt to help anyone with severe mental illness and not have legal protections, and input from professionals of all colours and approaches, as part of a network of care and support and perspectives and in some cases, safeguarding. Maybe it is possible for some people, and if it is, for some people to be helped entirely without input from conventional systems… but I think when supportive systems are available,a nd working well, person and needs focused, that is the best way, centrainly for those people considered to be the most complex and the most in need.

  • Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “[…]radical change can only come from within and from outside together, including medical profession, psychologists, survivors, and peer workers. For instance, the stance of the Ministry of Health in Belgium in rejecting the system of diagnoses, is a step in this direction, in some countries, in some places.”

    Belgium aren’t proposing to reject the DSM system of diagnoses. What they are reforming is the over-reliance on formal diagnosis, and also thus overdiagnosing, and moving from the old way of doing things (categorical diagnoses) to dimensional approaches (biopsychosocial psychiatry). So instead of symptoms, it’s rating scales. And the plotting of those scales over time. So, in some ways, more numbers and less words.

    Most NHS mental health systems in the UK have been incorporating dimensional approaches too, for some time. For instance, formulation is now a common approach to people’s assessments. Instead of focusing on symptoms, and presentations, it’s about taking a more broad view of someone;s life history and current and potential future problems, and plotting a biopsychosocial path to recovery. So at the heart of most peoples care planning will be a recovery-focused package of care, rather than something entirely symptom-focused.

    This to avoid overdiagnosis, stigma, pessimism, and wasted resources that don’t help people recover. But they will go on with diagnosing the core group of severely mentally ill, just as before. Only those with milder symptoms will not fall foul of labeling, if only because categorical approaches pretty much demand diagnoses in order to provide care, and dimensional approaches don’t.

    I agree that this is a good development across European healthcare. It will mean a lot of people avoiding stimga from unnecessary diagnosing. And better use of resources. But it will not spell the end of diagnosing DSM illnesses in Belgium.

  • What I propose is to take up the gauntlet thrown by PacificDawn.

    I think you should do what everyone on here should do. Put your money where your mouth is, and take on a person society has deemed severely mentally ill. Kind of adopt them. Bring them into your life and apply your insights. Relinquish them. Free them. No calling the cops. No calling them nasty names. No labelling them with derogatory terms. No violence. No mindgames. No reacting to provocations. No turning your back. Stick by them. Guide them. Tolerate them. Demonstrate in the real world why there is no need for psychiatry, for mental health laws, for commitment, for hospitals, for drugs, for risk assessments, for disability status.

    Demonstrate in action why a severely mentally ill person (ie on here, a fiction) is better off with you than existing systems of support and/or curtailment.

    No institutionalising. So no Soteria. No team-work, no shift work. So no professionalising. No drugging. So no violence. No compulsion. No safeguarding. So no taboo about harm to self and others. Including you.

    Then, after say, 12 months. Tell the world how it went.

    For every hour spent tapping repetitive condemntations of existing systems is an hour wasted in helping someone in the real world and putting your convictions into action.

    Just to add I’ve witnessed big talkers attempting to do this, a number of times. Each and every one of them behaved like despots as soon as things got tough. But not you. Not anyone here. You are different. You know better. I know this, because most days you’re telling the world that you know better.

    So demonstrate it. If anyone here did this just once, I’d be more inclined to consider them sincere. Which is only fair of me, all told.

    Because the biggest problem lies in the expectation that people have that those in peril and disarray will be helped by others. That they are sympathetic to the plight of the mentally ill but only in abstraction, as an idea, always many ways removed from the actual person. That is must always be someone elses’ problem. And that they know better but never so well as to become intimately involved themselves. The problem of the critic is that they are non-creative. They don’t wish to get their hands dirty. But they know an awful lot about how others should go about getting their hands dirty. What we’re talking about here are human beings, that need other human beings. That need help and recognition. And that if mental illness doesn’t exist, then perhaps the bigger problem is that basic human care and self-sacrifice to others is itself diminishing. Wishing mental illness away doesn’t help anyone. It’s not the best metaphor ever conceived but so far it’s the only one that actually brings support and sympathy to people.

    Where is the support and sympathy happening amongst the people here?

    Who is actually caring and self-sacrificing and demonstrating that their claims have any validity outside of text and talking?

    A minority, from what I can gather. And no-one so far as I can see you’d deem antipsychiatry seems to be doing much for the severely mentally ill at all. Unless I am wrong?

  • The people who most demonize the severely mentally ill, moreso than anyone else, are the severely mentally ill who commit monstrous crimes. These are the people from whom all stigma spews forth.

    The problem then is one of predictive accuracy. Who else amongst this group is going to be the next to commit horrific acts of crime against the innocent?

    It the the public, by and large, who pressure their elected members, and their police forces, and their systems of Law, to “do something about it.”

    And so, to win votes, to be seen to be serving the public, and for justice to be seen to done, it is psychiatrists and mental health systems that are the last in line of pass the buck. Families generally pass the buck on to them too. Lovers, husbands, wives, daughters, friends, colleagues, neighbours… everyone passes the buck over to psychiatrists and the mental health system.

    Because when push come to shove, hardly anyone is willing or equipped to take on the challenge of the severely mentally ill. It is a significant, life-changing, restrictive, challenging and potentially dangerous choice to make, to help someone severely mentally ill, without the resources and legal protections of a governmentally-sanctioned system.

    So the buck is passed until finally it’s a psychiatri team. And our severely mentally ill person in front of them. And there’s maybe a history of violence. Delusions involving threats or plans of violence. And a clock that just won’t stop ticking. The very clock that everyone passed along with the buck.

    Now, you sort that out. Break free of whining in the text box and get out into the real world and sort that out.

  • If you don’t gain lucidity from 50mg+ of Seroquel, then you were lucid already, and the effect of too much light is the same as too little.

    Or, there wasn’t much going on in your head prior to taking the drug. And then it’s like comparing one square meter of desert to another square meter of desert.

    Thanks for putting me on to this writer. He writes well and is interesting. Having scanned his blog I found a lot I align with, particularly his take on social control which is like my take, with a few extra baubles.

    Not sure why I wrote this and posted it. No-one asked me what I thought about this writer and I wouldn’t expect anyone would want to know either.

    In fact I question why I write anything online in comment boxes. It’s a dirty habit?

  • RE: #IAmNotDangerous

    Lots of solid research in psychology which demonstrates why pushing a negative has the opposite consequence. So you say to someone, “Do not think about an elephant.” And then all they can think about is an elephant.

    Likewise with pushing the above hashtag. All it achieves is people thinking about dangerousness, way more than they previously were likely to.

    And humans are a dangerous species. We are given to all kinds of violence, in all kinds of ways, most of which is subtle and concealed.

    So to claim non-dangerousness is quite a claim. I’d like to see some qualifying evidence from someone making this claim. Of course, they won’t be able to supply any evidence to substantiate the claim. And if I demanded it they’d resort to some form of subtle violence. That’s pretty much guaranteed.

    An additional dilemma: do dangerous people always know that they are dangerous, and how likely are they to self-identify to others as dangerous?

    Surely a dangerous person would be more likely to self-identify as non-dangerous than an actual non-dangerous person?

    In a very rudimentary social psychology sense, identifying oneself to the group as non-dangerous is likely to instill suspicion in the group. It may also act as a driver of bias, effectively ensuring that the group perceives dangerousness in the person claiming to be non-dangerous.

    All humans are potentially dangerous. All relationships and social settings are fraught with danger.

    You are potentially dangerous. I am potentially dangerous. Let’s trust Life and take some risks!

  • “Recovery is not a bridge we cross and never return to. Rather, it is more like fording a stream by side-stepping on different stones. Not all of the stones are as sturdy as some of the others. Yes, we slip at times, only to regain our footing and forge ahead.”

    Then why — O why O why O why O why O why O why — use this word “recovery” and not simply say, “life”. Life is full of ups and downs. We get knocked down, we get up again. Then, we die. We get knocked down, we stay knocked down. We learn to appreciate the dirt. Dirt is good. Dirt is life. We get knocked down, then we get knocked down, again and again, over and over and over. Until finally there is no distinguishing between our lives and the shitty earth’s shitty firmament of decayed shit and decaying shit-filth. We get knocked down, and we learn that it’s a bottomless pit. O the beauty of the bottomless pit! On our ever-nearing return to the shit from whence we came we pass lots of smiley no-can-do’s, they bother us as they float upwards, ever upwards. We try telling them… all that up there, it’s all *ill*usions whose only purpose is to delay the downward drop, which, given time, is where we’re all headed, every one of us, for all of time. The smiley-narkeys never stay long enough, except to nark a bit, nark and chomp, nark and chomp, and we’re going down, down, down, and they are so fixated on upwards. Upwards up the poop-pipe the wrong way.

    “Not all of the stones are as sturdy as some of the others. Yes, we slip at times, only to –”

    Drown. We slip at times, only to drown. And our senseless bodies fill and bloat and we sink, sink, sink, endlessly sink and it gets darker, so dark, and not a shard of light, not a glimmer. And not a hand, and not an eye. And not a word. And not a sound, or a soothing sigh. Nothing, as we sink, bloated, bewildered. And not a person on this planet, not a memory, not a poem, nothing can comfort, nothing can prevent our striken bodies, our striken drowning, nothing.

    These days, schizophrenics are troubled by the oppression, the anti-poetry, the anti-thought of these hyper-positive spin-yarns. Yes, I know life is hard for you but. You know. Me. It is important that we consider me. Life is hard for everyone. Even me. Life is hard for me. I mean. Only this morning, the toaster broke. I got jam on my shirt. I caught my lonely lamentables in the zipper. Excruciate. Excruciate! My pain! You see? And I snuck a glimpse of my face looking back, quizzically, and momentarily it was: you’re a git, like the others you resent. So yes. You and your precious schizo-problems. You and your… Er, excuse me. Are you listening?

    A recovery workshop is comprised of one or more persons explaining to other persons why they should “get a life”, and that not doing so is because they are making all the wrong choices.

    Stop choosing the colour black. Stop choosing to listen to Sigur Rós’ Valtari. Stop re-reading Jude the Obscure. Stop the mulling over EM Cioran. Stop fixating on the annihilations. These are all your shitty shitty choices and they are making you a sick shitty person in a splendid era, for splendid people.

    This is not a splendid era splendidly peopled. Is it?

    Or as some would have it: All. The. Wrong. Choices. As if adding some grammatical petulance is equivalent to pathos.

    To conclude todays parable: I put together my own recovery workshop, and marketed it to the recently beareaved, and to mortuaries, and to crematoriums, and other burial/burning specialists. Take up was slow, morbidly slow. Yet once the acrid pun was out the way, I got a few bookings. There is truly nothing in life more lusciously empowering of the non-sexual passions than finding oneself afore a roomful of dead folk, lying there, arrogance abounds, neither going forwards nor backwards, neither desiring nor annulling, merely composedly oozing, and as I say, standing afore these shameless shells, and shaming the shit-for-nothing life back into them. It’s a wonderful feeling. It is. I’m telling you now it’s an out-and-out extraordinary.

    What is resilience? Resilience is being punch-drunk. It’s having your head caved in so many times you can’t feel the pain any more. Or, resilience is when it’s been so long in pain that pain is all you know and you keep on going through the pain. Because the pain has to cease at some point, right? That’s what they’ve been telling you, every chance they get, they keep on repeating the same yawny lines. Ofttimes they are singing it and passing you a song-sheet and a nudge in the back, a cold fixated stare, and you mumble along with them, dreadfully, hopelessly hanging on to whatever uninspiring moment’s rejected teaching offers you next.

    We are alone. Endlessly, unstoppably alone. It begins, as it will end. Alone, alone, alone.

  • An immediate problem.

    People who are pro-psychiatry also have cognitive liberty. Same as those who are anti-psychiatry.

    Each group has cognitive liberty and thus will be endlessly locked in a tussle about who has the greater ethical right to claim their thinking as superior. At least in a legal sense.

    Next problem.

    The mind does not have a firewall and is hackable, from a distance, using various forms of consciousness-altering technology. There are no known defences against these technologies nor much awareness of their capabilities. So in the not-so-distant future, someone’s cognitive liberty could come under attack, invisibly, undetectably, and then this compromised cognition would be regarded as a protected right.

    Then the problem of thought and thinking as a purely private process. And it is, and it isn’t. Thoughts are private until an attempt is made to express them. And then those expressions are interpreted by others, who will have thoughts of their own. But the expression of thoughts and thinking aren’t protected. And in many cases they shouldnt be.

    For instance, a paedophile may think all the lurid thoughts they like. A terrorist may think all the hateful thoughts they like. A misogynist, a rapist, a bully, a bigot… all are free to think their thoughts just as much as they like. It’s when they express them that the trouble starts.

    Then we move into the area of censorship, either by others, or self-censorship… and that’s another can of worms. But briefly, cognitive liberty modeled around whose values and whose language-choices and modes of expression and so on? Could this simply become another oppressive over-valuing for instance of academic discourse and language over and above other modes of discourse? Which aren’t strictly speaking thinking or cognition but styles of organising thinking and cognition which tend to be favoured over other styles, such as working class or minority ethnic and so on?

    For a long time people have been able to think what they like without interference from others. Those days are fading fast. Technology is increasingly able to penetrate the mind and extract and insert thoughts.

    Another problem.

    If someone believes that unknown actors using unknown technologies are inserting thoughts into their minds. we have long considered this a delusion, or a feature of psychosis. Many serial and spree killers have claimed this has happened to them.

    Should their experiences be considered sacrosanct and protected, especially now that the technology able to conduct such experiences is extant and active?

  • Hello Sera Davidow and Caroline Mazel-Carlton.

    You’ve both done a good job here of dissescting the “pill-shaming!” exclamation and raised some interesting issues. There is a lot more that can be said on this subject and I hope either or both of you return to it at some future point.

    Like many aggressive exclamations, the “pill-shaming!” exclamation is an attempt to both hold or retain personal power against a percieved attack, as well as a quite violent way to shut down discussion. But it also acts, as I think you’ve acknowledged, to push back against overly zealous antipsychiatry activists/trolls who refuse to allow psychiatric pills to play any meaningful or helpful role in an individual’s life.

    Like you and many people I have close and longlasting relationships with people who choose to take the pills. And when younger I would find their decisions an irritant, a distraction from my antipsychiatry antiselfdrugging zeal. Most commonly as people age, they temper down. I’m glad to say that, putting aside the occasional outbreak of antichoice pox, I’ve tempered down.

    One issue you haven’t touched on but worth considering is the power people attain once they are on the pills for some time. For instance, I know and have known a number of people who, well-aware of the withdrawal syndrome of cold turkeying antipsychotics, choose from time to time to coldturkey withdrawal because of the power they feel it gives them, ie a swift re-entry into the psychiatric system, or a way to take control of tricky social situations that have been burgeoning for some time, and which are maybe loking like the social tide is turning against them, if they’ve been up to no good and troubling the hornets nest, a tactically chosen coldturkey withdrawal can have the magnificent effect of them gaining significant power over others, and they can rapidly retreat or leave behind any scrutiny or critiscism of their prior behavior because like you know now they are in relapse, and nothing else matters.

    I’ve seen that play out so often, I’m sure it must happen all over.

    Not that I condemn those who do it. Desperate situations call for desperate actions, and in the UK at least, a tactical coldturkey withdrawal is perhaps the only way someone can access the help they feel they need.

    Thanks both.

    (apologies for the numerous typos. I banged that out and must depart the keyboard, sharpish)

  • Q: Are Antidepressants Enabling the Population to Tolerate the Intolerable?

    A: No. Alcohol has been serving that function for many thousands of years.

    The explosion in antidepressants is a reflection of how miserable modern life makes many people. And has been making people miserable for a very long time. Only in recent times it’s become more acceptable to come out about it to doctors who, these days, fear the patient, fear doing nothing, and so prescribe antidepressants.

    Unfortunately, even on SSRIs etc, people continue to be miserable, but maybe a little bit less so, in that their misery is at least acknowledged now, and kinda cared for, and they can feel like something is being addressed. And at the same time go on drinking copious amounts of alcohol…

  • Malignant narcissism isn’t a mental illness. It’s a personality-style, a tendency to construct grandiose victim-status and vengefulness against perceived narcissistic injuries. Here you’re playing the armchair shaming psychotherapist, placing the atrocities of Rodger squarely on his father, whose probably only fault was pursuing a career at the expense of being present for his son.

    Psychiatry doesn’t depict personality disorder as a mental illness. Although as we all know, it’s often quite happy to drug the individual with personality problems.

    In my experience, narcissists — many of whom are probably acquired situational narcissists — do very well in the mental health system, partly because we are culturally led on to equate fame with expertise. And they exploit that ruthlessly, unsurprisingly.

    If I was to play the armchair psychobabbler, I’d guess that Rodger was a repressed homosexual, and the tragedy there was his inability to come to terms with that. He does, after all, describe in his manifesto the “trauma” of seeing heterosexual sex, and an adult female vagina, and spurns the advances of obtainable females, such that he can go on with his sense of persecution and rejection.

    His father is flawed, his mother is flawed. So is everyone. Choosing to go on a spree killing is entirely the choice of the malignant narcissist/psychopath… it’s just a shame that he couldn’t have been identified sooner, and all tragedy perhaps averted.

    Just to add that I am not equating repressed homosexuality with spree killing, generally. An old friend of mine spent 15 years in a marriage, had 3 kids, and was utterly miserable, but did well by his wife, and his children, and did his best to come out for them as gently as he could, although the whole experience was tragic.

    Only there are complex issues. Rodger was overly-mothered, under-fathered, bullied and hung up about his short stature. He comes across as quite effeminate, and time and time again, people were kind to him, even people that he had previously been bullied by, and despite everything, a life coach that tried to encourage him into work (he lasted 3 hours as he considered manual work beneath him) and friends who offered him homely and humble wisdoms. But he chose a trajectory, a narcissistic trajectory, and no-one is accountable for those choices other than himself.

  • Jule Green wrote: “Rassulus, I agree that the main concern of therapists, or shall I say, “therapists,” is that if we abolish therapy, they won’t have jobs.

    I don’t buy that at all. Too bad! How many patients and expatients on here have stated that psychiatry stole their career? And that’s okay?

    Should we feel sorry for them? I don’t. Get another job, for godsakes. We writers call it a “day job.” Bag groceries. That’s what one shrink told me to do, if I recall correctly. Okay, so they ruined my career and that’s their answer? Go work for Dunkin Donuts or McDonald’s. They’re always looking for people.

    Funny, they counsel people who are jobless, feel oh so sorry for us…fake empathy…and then they panic over their own potential joblessness.”

    I dunno, I am quite a sentimentalist at heart. When I read about the last hangman in England, I felt a tinge of sadness for a lost profession, a lost art, despite that I am against the death penalty and that hanging, in particular, seems designed to appeal to some peoples’ need to attain multiple sadistic emotional orgasms in answer to their grief and anger and vengefulness (the fact that many innocent people swung is a secondary concern).

    I’m not sure who to point the finger at with regards my laughably ruined life. Multiple fingers have to point back at myself because some of the choices I made, from the age of 5 years old and onwards, were tragi-comically self-defeating and although numerous therapists and wannabe therapists have chastised me for being less than charitable about the “inner child” I don’t think I have an inner child, the child is long gone, adults that claim to have an inner child come across to me as a little bit creepy. An inner tendency to at times be child-*ish*… well that’s something else entirely.

    But I digress. I think it’s sad for anyone to lose their jobs, especially if they have made a lot of sacrifices for it. Psychiatrists invest many years to attain that role. As do psychotherapists and really all serious professionals will undergo a lifetime of supplementary learning throughout their careers.

    I think a lot of them would do better to work with abused animals. There may come a day in our lifetimes when the cattle and meat industries find their consciences and are gradually phased out so these poor creatures destined for ritualistic slaughter are emancipated and reintroduced to the wilds, or somewhere between the death-camps and the wilds, there will be lots of openings for compassionate and empathic individuals to help them.

    And certainly a lot of psychotherapists would find their skills far more appropriate in helping cows and pigs and sheepies and wotnot rather than be trusted with other human beings.

    Psychiatrists might also be better suited to working with emancipated meat too. They certainly show a real flair for working with meat. Of course the stringent guidelines against abusive practices might put many of them off, but I am sure many could adapt, and adapt very successfully.

  • A friend of mine was kept in a psychiatric ward for nearly 3 years because he refused to speak to the psychiatrists. It was only at the point of being threatened with ECT that he relented. He lied to them and thanked them for helping him. And soon after they let him go.

    I don’t understand what you mean about middle class families and capitalism. I also am not sure what middle class values are? Aren’t they the same as working class values but with a fear of working up a sweat or getting the hands dirty or risking the nails?

    Also, I’m not sure about the need to eradicate psychotherapy. I mean, as you’ve written, people will go on paying people to listen to them drone on about themselves. And in many cases, you’d *have* to pay someone to pretend to be interested. Only objection I have is that the payments go in one direction only. Most therapy seems to be about making the therapist feel better about themselves. So they should be paying their clients.

    Life coaches are another matter. A life coach is a more pragmatic individual. They will tell you what you already know but don’t want to hear, and charge a premium for it.

    The only advantage I can see with the psychiatrist over the other two is that, by the by, they aren’t going to pretend to like you or pretend to be interested in you. That’s something I do admire about them. You can be sure they will make it absolutely clear they consider you to be contemptible and beneath them.

    I also concerned about what all the pretentious people are expected to do if we do away with these professions?

    The New Age is a big enough circus as it is…

    I do agree with you that there needs to be some kind of defence network to help people that don’t want to mix it up with these self-professed experts that can do a lot of deep damage.

    In fact a defence network is an excellent idea and I’ll approach you soon with some ideas of my own which may help you move these ideas forwards.

  • That’s true, Fiachra but I wasn’t focusing on the feelings so much as the effects of living in a kind of virtual war-zone. Which can be frightening and thrilling all at once, sustainedly stressful in ways that impact a person’s life in unparalleled ways.

    In others words, the experience and impact of The Fear upon the person with schizophrenia will be remarkably unalike how fear impacts the general population, even in an actual war-zone.

    This is why people with schizophrenia have been afforded disability status and concomitant disability rights. It would be uncivilised for society to dismiss the impact of schizophrenia on a person, and thus deny disability rights, and I for one will always push back against any attempts to do so.

  • @Sylvain Rousselot

    I agree that the study is worrying for mice.

    Given recent advances in neurology I’m surprised that they are still using mice as avatars for human beings.

    However, the womb is a very toxic environment the world over to incubate new human beings. With all the heavy metals, pesticides, plastic particulates, chemicals in food and so on… the food chain is fucked.

    Plus the consumption of alcohol, the pollution from roads, the electromagnetic radiation… and so on…

    Studies like these do not account for any of these factors. They pretend that we live in an alternate universe where none of these factors have relevance. And end up looking like exercises in scapegoating…

    I agree that women should not be using psychoactive drugs at all during pregnancy… even though that is pretty much unachievable.

    One last point. You sidestepped my joke. Can you describe to me an autistic mouse?

  • I agree that it isn’t a justification for ECT. Even though there are many people whose names I know and who have had some measure of impact on the world following ECT, when, in all likelihood, they would have remained in obscurity had they not had it.

    A similar problematic rose from the ashes of Nazism and the Holocaust. Names like Primo Levi and Viktor Frankl… had they not endured such horrific experiences we probably would never have heard from them.

    That isn’t a justification for the Holocaust.

    Simply an observation that horrible experiences can lift people out of the mire in a way that hugs and cups of tea don’t seem able to match.

    Simply a reminder that life is not black and white, always — and that “being nice” (for the best?) also brings with it mundane outcomes, obscurity, and boring people.

    Which is why I am warming to your perspective. All the Recovery and the Therapy and the Life Coaching is banal and fosters banality.

    Only a political fight with all its risks and dangers and passions can truly awaken what’s inspiring and honest and worthwhile in people.

    To be fair to myself, I’ve long endorsed this perspective. I think it gets covered in the toxic cultural dust of “putting on a front”, “fake it ’till you make it”, “be positive and change the world” kinda baloney that we are all under pressure to comply with.

    A good dusting down from time to time is necessary.

  • They are a doddle to come off. What isn’t a doddle is trying to live with schizophrenia. Of course some people never had schizophrenia in the first place and so when they tell you how easy it is to live with schizophrenia are really pulling the wool over their own eyes. They haven’t got a clue.

    Under the line here schizophrenia doesn’t exist. It’s a nothing.

    But text is cheap.

    Out here in the real world schizophrenia is like living in a one-person war-zone every day of your life.

    Not everyone wants to live in a war zone every day of their life.

    They just can’t handle it or don’t want to handle it.

    There are lots of people that never had schizophrenia, that had some kind of blip and were misunderstood, and got treated really badly. I feel sorry for them but I have no sympathy for their lack of understanding of schizophrenia and its true sufferers. They do the true sufferers of schizophrenia a terrible injustice.

    Having said that… 7 years away from the war zone is surely long enough to consider going back and seeing if you can handle the fight?n

  • I have yet to meet a parent I would consider to be a suitable parent. In fact I think humanity should have a global moritorium on parenting. Just outlaw having children the world over for at least 50 years until we address the fuckedupness.

    After 50 years we might find at most 20 or 30 people on the whole planet suited to be parents. After 100 years that would rise to about 100 people.

    Forgive me for my optimism with the numbers…

  • I would discourage anyone from engaging in Open Dialoguing when really what it means is bare your soul to people being paid to keep their own true selves under lock and key.

    It’s just more bullshit wrapped up in pretty packaging.

    Never freely give something to people unwilling to reciprocate.

    Better to meet them on their own level and engage them in Open Bullshitting.

  • Rachel777 wrote: “Yes.
    The truth is the “medicines” given/forced on people correct nothing. There is no pathology to correct. The chemical imbalance is a filthy lie. And the only way to think straight is to flee the SMI Lobotomizing Machine.”

    “There is no pathology to correct.” How do you know this?
    Insisting that there isn’t a pathology in *any* person is akin to insisting that there always is. It may be that in some people it is an as yet unknown pathology that is causing their problems and there is plenty of early evidence for many many factors that may give rise to schizophrenia. Toxoplasma gondii being one.

    Schizophrenia is a collective noun.

    As is personality disorder.

    And depression.

    All the above are collective nouns for things that are tentatively understood.

  • It took me a long time to read through the PTMF. It didn’t speak to me but I imagine it would speak to a lot of people that have fallen into the clucthes of conventional mental health approaches who feel unhelped or harmed.

    Certainly it’s a big boost in furthering the status of people who are the victims of abuse. And that’s long overdue. Even if it will also encourage those who are not in actual fact the victims of abuse, but who claim that they are.

    Incidentally, I hear nearly 80,000 voices simultenously, about 7000 of them are very hostile, 30,000 I would say are reasonably kind, and the other 43,000 are febrile and unpredictable. I was lucky to find a very understanding psychotherapist who hired out Wembley football stadium over a number of off-season summer weekends and we did probably the most extensive chair-work ever seen in the history of psychobabble.

    An utterly exhausting process but nonetheless transformative. And, ultimately I have attained a very workshoppy recovery.

    Good luck to the PTMF-crew, I say. As with all the other crusaders, some of whom self-promote on here from time to time, lots of travel to new and interesting places, all expenses paid. What is it about Australia and New Zealand and their never-fading need for workshops from people from the USA and UK? Strange phenomena. Do they have no survivors or thinkers of their own? What do they do all day other than receive visitors from the UK and USA on all-expenses workshop tours?

  • Well… naming anything anti- is problematic as it invites an eternal dance. It also suggests a lack of confidence in whatever alternative is being proposed.

    Some anti- movements, I concede, are legitimately and necessarily named. For instance, an anti-fascist movement is necessary because fascism will never entirely leave the human race. It’s a way of thinking which repeats.

    Besides, anti-psychiatry is a term coined by psychiatrists who wanted a new kind of psychiatry, so those fundamentally opposed to psychiatry as a bone fide institution have gotten themselves saddled with an unfortunate term which kinda locks them in an eternal dance.

    Some say, when psychiatry is dead and buried, antipsychiatry will go with it, but as you rightly point out, that void would soon be filled by the psychologists and the psychotherapists and the life coaches, many of whom hanker after the power of psychiatry and would gladly take up the cause of oppression, should the opportunity arise.

    Antibiopolitics suggests that biopolitics is a bad thing, whereas, biological politics is probably something that will never leave humanity.

    Abortion rights are biopolitics.

    Transexualism is biopolitics.

    The prohibition of drugs is biopolitics.

    Transhumanism is biopolitics.

    Being against biopolitics suggests conservatism.

  • “[…]claiming that in order to credibly oppose psychiatry you must first have an “alternative”? Did they say that about slavery or concentration camps?”

    Yes, some people did expect an alternative to concentration camps and slavery, before they were willing to give credence to critique.

    It’s not what should be thought of as an intellectual stretch to propose an alternative. Instead of concentration camps, we’ll learn to live with differences in humanity of all kinds. However, we’ll also develop a quasi-slavery prison complex and we’ll recreate concentration camps off the radar at Guantanamo Bay. What is the alternative to Guantanamo Bay and a prison slavery complex?

    Alternatives are always needed. The need for them doesn’t end once people have agreed on some new way. Rights and liberties are under constant attack. Ways and modes of living constantly changing. All things are fluid and shifting so the call for alternatives is constant and necessary and not something which should be shrugged away.

    Shrugging alternatives away is what landed us with slavery and concentration camps and a prison slavery complex and Guantanamo Bay.

  • Psychiatry and psychotherapy will soon be outmoded by so-called AI-driven expert systems. Even without doing anything, these two professions as we now know them will be replaced.

    To begin with there will be a gradual merging, with theuse of various consciousness-reading and CNS recording systems in the consultancies to guide the psychiatrist/psychotherapist in their decision-making. Soon thereafter will come the appendages, the upgrades, the interfaces and implants that will implement the brain-treatment.

    And finally the consultancies will be replaced entirely by AI-systems, and this technology will advance and normalise to the point where people are implanted at birth. or multiple times throughout life. This will incur many advantages, not least the rapid acquisition of new skills.

    And throughout the question will be asked: What is a human? At what point is a human-machine hybrid more machine than human?

    And I’m sad to share this but by that point the final decisions will be made by Greater Good, the biological machine oracle of all living beings.

  • To break with the mistakes of the past, I would consider dropping the *anti-*. And then perhaps find some post-millennial word to slip into it that’s internet friendly.

    The term “Anti-Bio-politics” sounds conceived by an academic, which is no hindrance, as such (note where the term Extinction Rebellion started, and who started it, and why), only it belies its critique of middle class values.

    Biopolitical Freedom.

    Are you going to be vegan-friendly?

    Nittygritty aside, I have read through your comments and found many nuggets of wisdom. The rejection of religion ensures the nook and cranny for the forseeable future. Reminds me of the times in my life when I have ensured a bad outcome by not making the effort to wash my face.

    I visited the forum you’ve linked to and it has information about the R Project for Statistical Computing. Do you see statistical computing as a basis for activism?

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “Since Benzos and alcohol both act on the same systems in the brain, if alcohol causes brain damage, it stands to reason that benzos would do the same eventually.”

    According to neuroscience, Benzos and alcohol do not act on the same systems in the brain. It does not stand to reason that benzos have the same damaging effects on the brain as alcohol. Benzos do act on the GABA system, as well as many other hypothetical systems, but not in the same way as alcohol, which also acts on many other hypoythetical brain systems, and not all of the same ones, or in the same way.

    Brain damage is cell death, necrosis. It’s true that benzos and alcohol cause necrosis. But not in the same way, and not in the same patterns, and not predictably in all people.

  • Sera Davidow wrote: “I’m going to be headed to a “Legislative Breakfast” at the end of this week that is inevitably going to include stories that fit the format you, I, and so many others are pushing back against.”

    Steve McCrea wrote: “I don’t think the stories themselves are what folks are objecting to.”


    Steve McCrea wrote: “It’s the apparent use of these stories to perpetuate the status quo.”

    Please elaborate on how that is so. It isn’t readily apparent to me.

    “The apparent enforced limitations put on the stories so as not to “upset” anyone, not to mention the choice to threaten civil commitment when someone’s story is too scary for them to hear.”

    There is no threat of civil commitment made by the competition organisers. What they say is that if some submits what is effectively a suicide-note they agree to be contacted by a professional from the organisation running the competition.

    The enforced limitations are not unreasonable. They say they don’t want “sugar-coated” prose, but something impactful and inspiring. They don’t want something self-indulgent and exploitative of the reader which may inspire them to snuff themselves. That’s a sensible balance.

  • The above concludes thusly:

    “In the late summer of 2010, I decided to address the issue head on using
    art in a series called Live Through This. I took a voice recorder and my
    camera, and I went to the source. I started to talk to other attempt
    survivors about their experiences—what led up to their attempt(s), their
    recovery, how they were treated by medical professionals, their feelings
    about psychiatric medications, what their support systems look like,
    other factors, and wherever else the discussion led. After each
    conversation, I made a portrait. I moved in close and asked each survivor
    to look into my lens as if they were looking directly into the eyes of the
    I started to publish these portraits and stories online as a kind of
    experiential catalog—as proof that, not only are we not alone, but that
    this issue spans all age ranges, ethnicities, faiths, sexual orientations,
    gender presentations, and any other box we might want to put a person
    in. I’ve interviewed 115 suicide attempt survivors in 13 US cities. I have
    no plans to stop.
    I’m not trying to normalize suicidal feelings. I tell this story and I do this
    work because I want people to know that this doesn’t happen in a
    vacuum. The suicidal mind can’t be stereotyped. When we do it safely,
    talking about these feelings can be empowering. It can create
    identification and breed compassion. It can heal. It can open us up to
    possible solutions, both for ourselves and the system at large. Maybe it
    can even save lives, but we won’t know until we try.
    I wish I could say that I didn’t still battle my mind and the thoughts that
    I’d be better off dead sometimes, but I do. The difference now is that I’m
    not afraid to talk about it. I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it. I
    know I’m loved even when I can’t feel it. And I know I will be able to
    power through any difficult moment because I know, without a doubt,
    that I’m not alone.”

  • Okey-dokey.

    I have read the 2015 winner: – Redeemed by Dese’Rae L. Stage

    The charge of “recovery porn” again does not hold.

    One paragraph reads: “My story is not unique. There are so many others out there just like it,
    but the society we live in tells us that we can’t talk about suicide, that
    doing so is attention-seeking behavior, that it only happens to “crazy”
    people. The truth is, this can happen to anyone, and until we
    stop sterilizing it by talking in figures, stereotyping it, romanticizing it,
    sensationalizing it, or avoiding it completely, we’re not going to save any

  • The competition winner in 2016 was Baltering from Bedlam by Ashley Loftin. I have just now read that text and I found nothing disagreeable or exploitative. It was tasteful and redemptive.

    I can’t see what the problem is.

    I suppose some would object to the fact that the competition winner expresses no qualms about being diagnosed borderline. Or that anti-depressants and therapy were helpful to her. If they were then they were and why should she or others be made to feel shameful for having bad experiences, going through mainstream treatments, and getting back on their feet and leaving it all behind?

    People unrecovered from suicidal impulses may be disadvantaged from entering the writing competition because they are dead. Or simply that they have found themselves unable to break free from their rut and achieve the narrative arc of someone like Ashley Loftin.

    My advice to such people is find some other competition and enter that.

    And a $10 entrance fee is cheaps as chips, all told.

    I do not understand the objection. I’ll read a couple more when I have time but strongly suspect none of them deserve to be scorned at either.

  • @ Sylvain Rousselot

    The human race, particularly here in the West, is very very fucked up indeed and that has been getting worse for some time now. Is perhaps accelerating as I type. The neurosis/psychosis, the delusions, the utter insanity of people is increasing and while psychiatry is undoubtedly off the ball about the true nature of humanity’s insanity, they are not as far off it as you are suggesting.

  • “Mental Health Europe advocates for a psychosocial approach to mental health, which instead of defining mental ill-health as a ‘disease’ or ‘illness’ caused by purely biological factors, looks to a person’s life and social environment, treating these factors as equally important in understanding well-being and mental ill health. It appreciates the lived experience of people who have experienced mental distress and recognises them as experts in their own lives.

    We all have mental health. Mental health is not only about disease or the absence of it. It is also about wellbeing and experiencing positive emotions: it is about us, our lives, work, relationships, physical health and social environment.”

    Thumbs up from me. Other than the bit about me being an expert on my own life, when in fact, like every other humble human being, I am a lifelong rookie. Life is too short to become an expert on it. But I do have some insights which only I can have, because only I can have them, because only I can live my life, which should not be brushed aside or crushed.

    It’s sad that the UK is trying to break free of Europe in order that it can go deep into a psychotic delusion of grandeur about a long-dead and romanticised Britishness of colonialism, Empire, xenophobia, jingoism.

    Maybe MHE can lobby to parachute in European psychologists to counsel this deluded and increasingly psychotic nation and help it back from the brink of impending disaster?

  • If you wish to become more familiar with Gandhi’s concept of Satyagraha this is a good text:

    In a 1914 speech Union leader Nicholas Klein said: “And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.”

    I have a hunch that monuments were not built in the memory of Nicholas Klein and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Which may explain why that bit gets cut out in the bastardised versions.

    Nonetheless a number of researchers point to Klein as the origin of the misattributed Gandhi quote.

  • Krista Hartmann wrote: “Many are familiar with the following quote by Mahatma Gandhi. It sustained me as I shouldered the burden of going it alone:

    First they ignore you.

    Then they laugh at you.

    Then they fight you.

    Then you win.”

    If you are familiar with the speeches and writing of Gandhi, as I am, in a very humble and respectful way, then you’ll know that Gandhi never said this. He never wrote this. this has nothing whatsoever to do with him.

    Which begs the question why are there so many apparently flaccid lines slapped with pseudo-authenticity of Gandhi-ness?

    Is it another form of racism?

    I dunno. What I do know is the man never said this. In fact, the nearest available quote is from an American textile union leader from the early 20th C.

    Why do people keep doing this to Gandhi? I don’t get it.

  • Oldhead wrote: “If the term “injury” is really important to you, you might make a case that trauma is “injurious” to the soul, recognizing it as a poetic/metaphorical abstraction, and that stress and toxins are literally injurious to the body, so that both connotations of “injury” might co-exist here.”

    Stress and toxins are not “literally” injurious to the body. They can *actually* be injurious to the body. As you wrote above, it’s important to be careful with language.

  • I have only read the headline. Reclaiming Humanity at the Dawn of Posthumanism. Problem therein is:

    – from what or who are we to reclaim it from?
    – if this is the dawn of posthumanism (it almost certainly isn’t) then what is the advantage to a posthumanist to reclaim humanity?

    and consequently
    – how does one prevent a dawning of something new with the fading light of what came before it… if the light is fading on humanity and brightening on posthumanity, then why appeal to that which is failing, and it failing because of its failures?

    My hunch is the article is a call to primitivism, a colonialist romanticist fantasy of primitivism… which has failed, and it failing, just as the modern human too has failed, and is failing.

    In times of crisis appeals to the past become ever more prevalent and desperate. An idealised past that never existed.

    I prefer the idea of embracing change, humanising change, and desisting from belittling the emergent generations, desisting from shaming them and making them feel wrong and helpless and doomed.

    They possess all the mental, emotional, and creative energy that anyone did, at any point in human history. I think they’ll be okay, even if they opt to interface their brains with their quantum computers, and gameify their REM sleep, and high score their sex lives, and constantly respawn their identities.

    They’ll be okay, and humans will one day be kept in zoos, for sentient robots to gawk at and coo over.

  • There is no need to worry about a handful of commentators under the line of Mad in America. They are not going to take psychiatry down with pithy words and textual posturing. The majority of people that write articles here are interested in reform. Change is inevitable, and discussions are important to influence that change. What’s important is for as many voices to be heard as possible. There are lots of places on the internet that are pro-psychiatry… and anything even hinting at critique and questioning is abruptly rounded on, and rarely tolerated. And when it is tolerated it tends to be ghettoised.

    The majority of people in the mental health system are like you. They are able to discern that there is a lot of good and a lot that is far from good. There are many excellent people, and many not-so excellent people.

    As far as mental illness goes, it’s an attempt at an explanatory narrative. But by the by, it is only a very weakly evidenced narrative. However, culturally, it is the favoured narrative and all signs are that its massive growth is going to continue and so again, you have no need to worry about people taking your mental illness away from you, if that is the explanatory narrative you wish to invest in, which gives you meaning.

    Additionally, no-one is going to take your drugs from you, if you wish to go on taking them, you are free to go on taking them. Some people — the majority in this place — do not take benefits from drugs or were very harmed by them. If that is not your experience, then you may be one of the lucky ones, and it would seem that again, you are in the majority. Because most people don’t claim to have had bad experiences with drugs and in fact attest to some benefit from them.

    Benzos I agree are handy, if used very sparingly. A lot of people have a hard time on them, and a hard time getting off them. If that isn’t your experience then no-one here has the right to tell you otherwise. Some people do have a habit of contradicting peoples’ personal experiences. It’s uncouth of them, but that is their wont. I wouldn’t take it too seriously. There’s no point.

  • Gandhi knew what he was talking about when he said, “Be the change.”

    Gandhi unfortunately didn’t know what he was talking about when he said, “Be the change.” Because he never said it.

    According to Quote Investigator: “Gandhi died in 1948, and the earliest close match known to QI appeared many years later in 1974 within a book chapter written by educator Arleen Lorrance.”

    Arleen Lorrance who? Not quite as sexy but certainly the quote is a world apart from the polticial writings of Ghandhi, who would never have advocated for the individualism that the misquote promotes.

  • Frank Blankenship wrote: “Carl Gustav Jung, if you’ve seen the movie A Dangerous Method (2011) is known for having had a relationship with one of his patients, or former patients, and a future psychoanalyst herself, Sabina Spielrein, but perhaps it was actually after the professional relationship had dissolved that the intimate one began.”

    Nope. Jung commenced the spanky hanky-panky with Ms Spielrein while undertaking his experimental version of Freud’s techniques. We know this because he revealed to Freud in private correspondence what was going on and Freud was furious, this adding further to their inevitable parting of ways. Spielrein expressed no regrets for Jung’s groundbreaking therapeutic fucking. But what she did regret were a number of her psychoanalytic ideas being stolen by Jung and Freud and her being effectively written out of the history books.

    I agree with Will Hall’s implicit call for fighting corruption. I think that all therapists that consider themselves therapeutic fuckers should come out about it and make it absolutely clear from the off that their therapy may involve them prostituting themselves out for cash.

    I expect gentler terms would be arrived at in the honest self-reappraisal.

    Therapy with benefits?

  • Hands up who’s read the original study?

    It’s very poorly designed. And it sets the bar so low that it’s no wonder they found a strong correlation. I suppose, setting the bar high (ie. in their definition of psychosis, rather than sloppily going ahead with psychosis-like, or anything a little teeny bit like psychosis at all, anything, you once thought you heard a sound, any sound, and then you didn’t, and did you ever have a bad experience in childhood, anything, someone a little bit nasty to you, and made you cry, yes, once? that’s enough) the correlation would have been weak, and so not much point going ahead with something that was clearly intended as an exercise in bias confirmation.

    I’m not opposed to the idea that some people’s problems stem from bad experiences. Although these days this idea seems to have become a bit of a trendy and maddeningly simplifying narrative that has taken off as some kind of mass delusion.

    It would be better surely to come up with robust studies that are courageous enough to risk not confirming the bias, but which might open up other avenues of thought?

    Yes. I know. I expect too much.

  • I trust that you give a shit, Mr McCrea. I trust that if someone was having a hard time in your presence that you’d reach out to them. You’d go out of your way to help them.

    I’m like that too.

    Everyone, including you, including me, can lose sight of that, we can forget, or we can be uptight or worried or frightened. And we’ll hold back and do what most people do, because if you don’t hold back, imagine the shit this person could bring into your life…

    Imagine the shit this person could bring into your life.

    Do you really want that?

    Does anyone really want that?

    You ask, “Would it sell?”

    My counter-question is: “Do you give a shit enough to want that level of shit in your life?”

    Honest answer is no.

    I await your answer.

  • I wrote: “Headline: Mad in the UK “collective” Snubs Mad People”

    Auntie Psychiatry wrote: “Evidence?”

    Everyone snubs someone. That’s the name of the social game. Who have you been snubbing lately? I’ve been snubbing so much I have a sore snub.

    But on a less serious note, it was a joke. Most of the time I’m the only one who gets my jokes. I know they are funny because (1) no-one hardly ever lets me know I’ve made them laugh (2) they make me laugh. This is a currently undocumented form of narcissism, so far as I can tell.

    What I like most about my jokes is how funny they are. Just now I read back and I didn’t cringe or suchlike. I was immediately chuckling to myself. If only someone else could make me laugh the way I make myself laugh. It would be bliss.

  • Peter Breggin wrote: “As family members, therapists or doctors, what if we never again promoted or prescribed drugs as a “treatment” because they ultimately impair our frontal lobes and hence our ability to love?”

    Aye, just stick to those friends of the frontal lobes, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, aspartame, and cocaine.

    I suppose looking back to history, we will find more Love, prior to impairing our frontal lobes with psychiatric drugs?

    Okay. Let’s peer back through time and find the Great Age of Pre-Psychiatric Love. Keep going, keep going… and, keep going. O dear, we appear to have fallen over the edge of human time, to a time without humans.

    Okay, bring it back a bit. Hit the brakes! We’ve hit another cliff-edge, and gone to the time when no humans remain.

    One thing that struck me though was that beauty, that natural strangely harmonic beauty, when the humans aren’t turning the whole world gradually into some kind of plastic legoland of Love… serene… but also… lacking in something.

    Anyway best of wishes to all the lovers of the frontal lobes. Just one word of caution. Don’t get too attached to them. When it comes to the crunch, not even a perfectly functioning unabused pair of frontal lobes will prove much use to ya…

    Love to all xxx

  • I was in a store a few days ago and this woman was having a go at the cashier. She was accusing her of traumatising her. Good grief, I was thinking, and shuffled over to be of assistance, thinking there was perhaps a threat of death situation or some such. Turns out the woman with the trauma-claim was trying to return a pullover with a coffee or red wine stain on it, and the cashier was refusing.

    The emotion in her voice was palpable. No mistake. But trauma?

    In RJ McNally’s book Remembering Trauma, he writes: “The threshold for classifying an experience as traumatic is lower when times are good. In the absence of catastrophic stressors such as war, specialists in traumatic stress turn their attention elsewhere, discovering new sources of victims or hitherto unrecognized trauma.”

    I respect his bathos. People are trivialising trauma. It now means anything which upsets them a little bit, any slight narcissistic injury, any mention of anything which is mildly difficult or unpleasant. And it’s about as sincere as offering an injured dolphin a retirement at SeaWorld.

    Why are people so keen to make everything difficult in life a trauma? What do these kinds of people expect life to be? Even Disney films depict hardship, loss, trials… and they are by and large sentimentalised garbage.

    This is what happens when a small clique of people dominate the picture and make demands for system-change that do not widely reflect what people want and need. You end up with a farce. A traumatising farce.

  • “[…]to assume that someone is knowledgeable enough about the effects of a prescription drug, based on the information his or her doctor provides when writing a prescription, is making a huge leap.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I do not think that most people have an adequate understanding of biochemistry and physiology to allow them to make informed decisions about the risks of taking medications (psych or non-psych).”

    A doctor can’t tell you what will happen to you. All they can do at best is express hope that you feel a bit better. Whatever that means?

    Even the world’s foremost biochemist is unable to have an adequate understanding of what will happen to *you* if you take a psychoactive drug. Most of their knowledge is based on what has happened to mice, rats and fruitflies. In *isolated* *controlled* environments.

    And then they are unable to predict what will happen to a specific mouse, rat or fruitfly.

    And even then, no-one has a blinkin’ clue what happens when all these drugs enter the wild, and mix it up with all the culturally okayed shit, and all the environmental pollutants, the chemicalised environment, and plastic particulates in the food chain.

    It’s more complex than the simplifying narratives make it out to be.

    Never trust a simplifying narrative!

    There are expectancy effects and there is the placebo effect and some drugs are downy, and some others are uppy, and some others can be trippy. Beyond that, what does anyone really know about drugs and how can anyone realistically measure the effects of drugs on human beings? Moreso, on an individual?

    How can a doctor be held to blame if someone regularly using alcohol, sugar, aspartame and caffeine comes a-pleadin’ for a fix when their coctails catch up with them? And gives them what they want?

    And how honest are people anyway about their drug use with their doctors? Especially, as you know, most people are necking drugs under the self-delusion that they are non-drug substances.

    “The medical profession has a burden of responsibility as the gatekeepers of access to prescription medications. That is the issue being discussed here.”

    It’s all a bit too much scapegoaty and unrealistic if the broad issue of drugs and self-drugging isn’t included in a more honest and open discussion. Singling out one aspect of this drug opera isn’t getting to the heart of the issue. Which seems to be the way the world turns much of the time.

    I agree that the gate is too wide open. And needs pushing closed a fair bit. But afore that gate aren’t simply the gullible and the desperate. It’s a highly drugged population in disarray in a drug-normalised environment.

  • I read you blog post and I like your style and I like your vibe. I don’t have a problem with you using seroquel in order that you can maintain a functional life, especially as you are a working mother.

    I was diagnosed with schizphrenia a long time ago, in my late 20s. I struggle mostly with a generalized anxiety, insomnia, mood, concentration, disinhibiton, and persecutory thoughts. I have had visions and heard voices but they are, for me, quite rare events. I do not use antipsychotics.

    It has been a slow awakening. I have come to understand and accept, for once and for all, that a concussive traumatic brain injury at the age of 4-5 years old is what led to my lifelong difficulties. It has been quite a revelation to finally be acknowledged by my GP and mental health services. It has finally been acknowledged that the TBI has had a terrible impact on my life, and had I been born in recent years, then my childhood would have involved neuropsychologists and special educational and familial support to help me. It is too late now. I am approaching 50 years old. So I use my energies to keep fit and grow good food and when I can explore areas of natural beauty.

    I’ll soon be called in to meet up with a neuropsychologist. There is a charity called Headway and they have meeting groups. I’ve read around the subject a lot and I guess I’ll find people with whom I have a lot in common. Just as I did when finding mental health drop-ins and being on PICUs and wotnot. Lots of people with diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar have many of the same symptoms of TBI and vice versa. In fact many of them like me should be given a primary diagnosis of TBI. For me, it’s like I’m getting my genuine identity. Although I would prefer to have both schziophrenia and TBI labels.

    We are very different in that I cope without psychiatric drugs through rejecting magical thinking and you propose that magical thiking is what is going to transform your life.

    I do not doubt your abilities and I hope you have more success in life than I have. Mine has been a series of outrageous disasters, one after the other. I’d not be writing this if I didn’t have a sense of humour.

    I wish you well Ekaterina and hope we can meet face to face some day. We would make one another laugh, and have lots of interesting topics to talk about, I am sure.

  • Oops. Yes, sugar has nutritional value and depicting alcohol as a drug is an opinion. Please forgive my poor education.

    And yes, it’s very naughty when doctors dish out drugs that drug-seeking individualists go seeking. Very naughty indeed. And those poor-drug seeking people isolated in their desolate villages with no access to information. Those poor serfs being led along by the naughty doctors and the naughty pharmacists and their naughty leaflets.

    I mean, who doesn’t trust a leaflet with massive lists of side-effects?

    And we know alcohol and sugar is okay and much better than the naughty doctors stuff because have you ever been given a leaflet detailing lengthy health risks including death when purchasing alcohol and sugar?

    I should hope not!

    Damn those naughty doctors and hurray to the publican and the sugary food retailer!

  • People are entitled to believe that there’s some symbolic meaning in their psychosis. Some people enjoy ATTEMPTING TO SOLVE cryptic crosswords.

    To solve a cryptic crossword requires the crossword to be set by a skilled cryptician.

    So here we have an interesting slant on psychosis. Psychosis is a symbolic puzzle set by a skilled cryptician that has somehow lost the skill to decrypt their own encryptions.

    A therapist is therefore some kind of encryption-breaker, a skilled decryptician.

    Which must mean that my own experinces of psychosis have been enctrypted using complex elliptic curve algorithms that would take the most intelligent person several hundred million years to decrypt. Because I cannot make head nor tail of them and other people have claimed to have solved them, only to have performed the facetious act of filling in the crossword with words that fit and join up and match one another, but don’t actually solve the puzzle.

    Also, it is not black and white. To have problems of the brain does not equate to having a disease. It’s not a unsolved puzzle versus having a disease.

    For instance, traumatic brain injuries (I mean authentic ones, not histrionic ones) in childhood, can result in quite unfathomable developmental issues in the noggin, which even the most skilled cryptician would be unable to solve.

    A traumatic brain injury is not a disease. It doesn’t create a disease. It introduces absurdo-cryptic elements to a person’s personality and perceptual and experiential *styles* that no-one — at least no-one of a humble disposition — can solve.

    Odd (Scandinavian, pronounced “ot”) was terrified. He was walking home from a third group session of Foetal ReTRIB(e)utional A-waken-ing at his local Alienation Centre, and all the faces had become the meatus of a penis, and as he looked at each new passing stranger, each face was a meatus, and their hands were a meatus, and their necks a phallic shaft, and their eyes were like black pre-canecerous moles, and their hair thick strands of pubic growth.

    “The world is turning to cock!” he shouted aloud, and a leathery meatus-faced man was in earshot and gave chase.

    I will take that anecdote to the next ISPS conference — fleshed out, if you will — and request symbolic interpretations.

  • The overuse of the slash without spaces makes reading sometimes harder. Is this a hyphenated word, such as example-hyphenated or, (example–hyphenated) is this a slash? And the slashed out part of a sentence should be a violent departure or abrupt emphasising, not a gentle, or flowing clarification.

    So, say I was writing a sentence — and I want your fucking attention — that is the kind of tonal departure that a slashed out section should be used for, not a part like this, which is gently explaining things in the thematic flow of what came before. In that case, it’s best to use commas, or parentheses.

    Of course, grammar and language changes through constant mangling. But some punctuational rules are worth maintaining, for ease of reading.

  • I reject psychiatry outright. That is why I use antipsychotics. That is also why I accepted the invitation to the ghetto. They leave the door open but I wish to make it absolutely clear that I choose to remain here on my own terms. I have no fear of the world outside the ghetto. I mean, that is actually where I belong. I don’t understand why you can’t see that or why my decision to remain here and bellow and make a name for myself is essential. After all, my experience is universal. My demands are universal. My needs are universal.

    Fuck the open door! I will remain here and you will listen to me. I am beyond important. I am essential. If I wasn’t fundamental why do you think they would bring me here, and why do you think I would choose to remain here, despite the open door and the world outside?